25 August 2011
Belgian GP – Thursday press conference – Pt.1
Drivers - Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso), Jerome D'Ambrosio (Virgin), Vitaly Petrov (Renault), Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), Bruno Senna (Renault), Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
Bruno, how ready are you for your return and what about coming back here at this particular circuit?
Well, it is going to be a big challenge to come back into the middle of the season - or a bit later than the middle of the season – into racing but I have been participating in all the meetings with the engineers so I have been very much up to date with what is going on in the team. The Friday in Hungary was very useful for me to get a feel for the car and get a feel for how the car can go. But, of course, it is going to be a big uphill battle to get up to the level of these guys who have been racing for 11 races now. The fact that it is here, in Spa, is very special. It is my favourite circuit and a circuit that historically I have done very well on so I am really looking forward to it. I hope I can progress fast and hopefully do a good job for these guys because it is the best way to appreciate the opportunity that they are giving me.
And, of course, you've driven a Formula One car around here quite recently in May. There is, I believe, photographic evidence of that.
Yes, it was also good too. Every time you can drive the car recently it makes it easier for you to learn. It was for a demonstration, only a few laps, but still great to have a better reference than from my previous references and hopefully this time it will be a more serious run.
What can you expect from yourself really this weekend?
It is hard to say. Friday was very tough, Friday in Hungary was really, really difficult but again I only had one set of tyres. I know I will be having to learn how to deal with the tyres from the first set all the way to the sets in qualifying and then again learning how to deal with the tyres for the race as that will be my first experience with the Pirelli tyres on high fuel going to low fuel. All this experience I don't have so if I can be anywhere near Petrov that would be a good reference.
Jerome, your local race. What are your expectations?
Well it is something special to be here definitely. For 17 years there were no Belgian drivers in F1 and Spa so coming back here is special. I felt it. It has been busy days for me with the first press conference for the grand prix back on the 10th of August. There is a lot of enthusiasm about me being here. Now on the other side I just have to keep on doing my job, stay focussed. I will just try to do the best. There is not much more we can do. I will just focus on getting the maximum out of the car. Hopefully the weather can play for us a little bit and then we will see.
So what are your hopes for the Belgian weather?
Well, a bit of drizzle in the race would not be a bad thing for us.
What are your thoughts about the second half of the season and perhaps your thoughts on staying on with the team for next year?
Well, first of all the break was something good. I think that as a rookie you take a lot of information in within a very short period of time and it is nice to have a break not thinking about Formula One. Then it is kind of a natural processing of all the information you have taken in during a couple of months. That is something good before the last eight races so I am looking forward to these eight races. I really wish to make another step and really put into application what I have learnt over the last 11. Now with the team I am really happy. I think they are happy about me as well so definitely at the moment we are speaking and hopefully we will be able to work together again next year.
Sebastien, I believe you had a pleasant break in the United States during August. Tell us about that?
Yes, I went to Orlando and then to Miami for a few days. I came back on the 14th to go back into training for at least a week to prepare as well as possible for Spa. The rest of the season as we know, Singapore and all the next races, are going to be very hot and you have got to be fit. It was a good break and I could enjoy myself a bit but it is very good to be back here as Spa is a fantastic circuit.
Things seem to be going a little bit better over the last two or three races. Perhaps you can just explain that. Obviously you have qualified 16th here for the last two years, well that's where you have started, and you have also finished 12th here so presumably you are hoping for better. But tell us about the improvement in the car.
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